December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas all from Wardwick Wells Exumas! We will celibrate the day here with dozens of other cruisers from around the globe on the beach for an afternoon potluck. We miss you and welcome you out here anytime you want to join in.

December 14, 2007

Naughtso Bahamas

Tropical storm Ulga has pinned us in the Bahamian capital of Nassau. Anchored in a channel /no-mans land between the have’s and the have-nots we lock our dinghy to a free dock on the ghetto side and walk the bridge to where the grass is watered and the beaches are sanded. It’s the scene of a future revolution. A toll bridge brings you from a concrete graveyard to a highly guarded Disneyland. Across that bridge is celebration: nightly fireworks illuminate the casino skyline as timeshare folks file in to drop off their weekly pensions and Carnival cruise line ushers thousands of buffet gurus into the t-shirt stores with their fifteen bucks so they adorn their tanned pot bellies and spare tires with proof of their Bahamian experience, even though tourist day here was designed by the same group that did Myrtle Beach and south Florida and every other tourist coral. If you walked deep into New Providence Island then drew up a t-shirt after the fact it would hardly be yellow with a palm tree, but its no wonder since the seamstress is looking out the factory window dreaming beyond their own rusted corrugated roof line of Sri-lanka.
Informally I have surveyed the impressions of other foreigners and our sentiments concur. Slouched middle aged men line the crumbling city streets of Providence Island with hopeless eyes and idle hands. There is a defeated feel and distance in their eyes and smiles are few and far between. Their ethic is different than what we are living off of from the protestant era. When you do make a connection with someone and venture beyond that first layer the people are beautiful and proud.
The common hope here is that one can land a tourism based job where the tipping culture put you above the daily average wage. Its interesting that people are coming to see a way of life that is contrived for the benefit of and exists solely because people come to see it. So how does it occur?

This weeks adventure has been a high low search for a two person meal under thirty bucks. Our first four days ran us thirty bucks every time we stopped walking. A burger is eight bucks and if you want fries and a coke that’s seven more dollars. Ha! So we found a few shacks built up with scrap plywood and other scavenged timbers on a vacant lot down on the fisherman’s wharf underneath a two lane bridge. I ordered the cheapest chopped onion, tomato and ice burg salad with diced conk and it was nine bucks. This was as local as it got. We need to get further south it looks like. Lobster fetches $19.50 per pound to the fisherman, that’s twice what we get for chasing down King crab in the frigid Bering sea. Sorry folks the Us dollar wont get you far. So we collected a few coconuts from the trees and plantains from the market and we fry that up everyday along with our daily home bake pizzas. Our thirty bucks now lasts two people two days.

December 12, 2007

December 03, 2007

Gun Cay and on the way

We reached the teal Bahamian waters and entered into the life of subsistence gathering and barter. When are you ready to set off on a trip around the world? What do you need to know, and what do you need to take? A month of Home Depot runs and Wal-Mart provisioning drained the kitty and the soul, and filled the closets with “things we need”. We couldn’t fit any more stuff on this boat, so it was time to leave- I guess we were ready.

We crossed the border of the US and Bahamas on the eve of my 27th year. It was a great year. I hope to find new ways to make a living that are adventurous and pose the opportunity for personal development and the next challenge.

Rob, Derek and I speared some fish today and got our first sense of what it actually takes to put food on the barbecue. Day one we caught nothing, day two we caught our first, and day three we caught our first meal. The debate is open about what fish we have been catching, but the freshness is amazing, and the experience unbeatable. Derek nearly shot a sleeping shark thinking it was the biggest fish he had ever seen. Numerous sting rays and jelly fish made us aware of our thin skin and vunerability.

The crew had a blast when we decided to fly our spinnaker for the first time…. It’s not a one person activity, and when we got it flying it was so beautiful that I had to get pictures of it. So I jumped into the dinghy and attempted to take some pictures. Well, the boat took off and the dinghy began to sink. The boys had to keep the boat on course so that the spinnaker wouldn’t tear. So there I was, terrified, watching my new boat sailing beautifully off into the horizon with two laughing deckhands. I bailed water and finally caught up- all the while they got more pictures of Captain Ahab out adrift behind the boat than we had taken of the new spinnaker.

Rob leaves tomorrow, to rejoin his wife in their first trimester and the boat is heading South East to Great Inagua and then to Panama. This adventure is continually fueled by the prospect of exploring different cultures and a simplified lifestyle, coupled with the opportunity to volunteer and serve at whatever capacity we can. As Jimmy Rouge used to say “The people we meet make the experience, the places will always be there”.

We are going to take a slow journey to the Eastern Bahamas where the fishing is rumored to be untouched and the surfing is credible. The boat remains named Nicole Marie until Glory comes with a paint brush to reintroduce this old boat as “Ultima Noche”.

November 19, 2007

A new boat and bigger dreams

Leaving Colorado last December to sail around the world was the dream, figuring out what I would need to know along the way was the plan. I drove to Florida, bought the first boat I looked at, and sold the car. Three months of sailing around showed me what kind of boat I would need... After getting knocked around in a gale and several short squalls in that last tropical storm off the coast of South Carolina, wearing out crew and soaking every last personal item at least once, it was time to start looking. I sailed into St. Augustine and threw down the pick. Right next to me was a beautifull 1964 Pearson Vanguard, full keel blue water cruiser. I rowed over to take pictures and met the owner as he was brushing his teeth. The next day we traded titles and rafted up to move off of and into our new boats.

If you set out to live your dream the world will conspire to make it happen. We are surrounded by resources that will lead us in which ever direction we are compelled to follow. Everyday I meet someone who helps me along the way. The adventures with Barely Twisted are now to be lived by Michael Perry the competent restorer of the former S/V Nicole Marie, who has seen the world twice round. She will be properly re-introduced to the elements as the S/V Ultima Noche. Sea willing, she will set off once again on another cultural geography tour around the globe.

This week was spent finding teak and making this table and bed board surfaced with a chart of the Puget Sound where I learned how to sail, and Morning Glory styled the Wind Vane paddle (that steers the boat with the wind) with an Aboriginal style dolphin.

The plans are growing with this new boat: A roving hostel, humanitarian research and aid platform, sea farm and sustainable living experience all-in -one. The brightest minds and spirits are quitting their jobs and filling the bunks. Morning Glory Farr and Derek Turner are cutting loose and making her their home as well. We will be making a film, writing, and facilitating an international dialogue as we go.

Keep in touch, as we will be exploring different ways of life, sharing our lessons and bringing aid to those who we encounter. If you see a humanitarian cause that you want to help, let us know and through our non-profit organization 100% of your pledge will go directly to that cause.

September 02, 2007

Time to clock out

The Aleutians will remain in the back of my mind as the most beautifull place in the world on a sunny windless day. A sunny day and one easily forgives this region for its wild temper. A halfmarathon on Unalaska Island, the lunar eclipse, wild flowers, the best drinking water on the planet, lava explosions from an erupting volcano, living out of a homestead, countless bears and other wildlife, getting handcuffed to the bartender, wild blueberries, catching salmon by hand in shallow streams, the biggest halibut and pay check I ever hopped to see all in all made for a complete alaskan summer.

Its been nine months since I have spent any significant time on land. While my eyes filled with wonder, my legs and social skills have atrophied beyond repair. Dreams of running in open feilds fill my nights in between thoughts of pretty girls.

Its time to shave and dig in with Amelia at the DENVER Voice. I will be an unemployed technically homeless volunteer working for the Denver homeless newspaper for all of September.

Then its off to Barely Twisted, with who knows yet, to the southern hemisphere.

August 04, 2007

Big Fish

We caught a huge Halibut. It took three guys, each with a gaff and all our might to pull it over the rail. It was four hundred and forty pounds and sold for sixteen hundred bucks. What an exciting moment it was. We have been hidding out from the weather for a few days and in the mean time enjoying the natural surroundings.

July 24, 2007

Every expense is paid for with a bit of your time

Money is not profane. If a tree is sacred and a baby is sacred and if even a baby shit is sacred- if everything is sacred- money certainly must be as well. It is part of the stuff of life.
Money is among our most sacred things because it is actually a representation of life force itself. The key to understanding this is to take a step back and ask: what is money really? How do I get it? How do I use it? A particularly insightful question to ask is, “How much do I make?” Your answer will most likely be something like “I a make ten dollars an hour” or “ I make $45,000 per year.” And what that answer would clearly show is that you exchange time its self for money- the time remaining in your life. While it would be going to far to say that money actually is a life force, it certainly represents it and is a primary means by which we exchange our life’s energy with that of other people. It is often how we exchange our life’s energy for the energy of the earth its self. How can money not be a key spiritual aspect of our lives.
When we receive money from our jobs-from exchanging our precious and finite time and energy for it- we don’t hoard it. We use some money for out survival needs and some for special treats. Maybe we save some or invest in a business or in education. When we spend money, we give it to other people in exchange for their precious time and energy to serve us. We pay people to bake us bread, build us homes, teach us, pave our roads, design our web sites, and make us chocolate bars.
When we incur debt, we literally owe parts of our lives: time that we have not yet lived that must be given up to repay that debt. “Wage slave” takes on a whole new meaning. What is paying for a home, or a car loan, or a student loan, or a credit card but literally indentured servitude? How much of hating our job is due to knowing in our bones that we are selves unable to escape our masters.
How Much Money (time, that is) does it take you to live the lifestyle you are living? Many expenses don’t serve us, like that light bulb that is still turned on in the next room where no on is. Right now. How much less would it take to live if you cut out most of the waste? How would it take to meet your needs if you wanted to spend every possible moment working on the truly important things in your life?
We all know how “voting with dollars” affects the environment and society. When we purchase gasoline, we contribute to air pollution. When we purchase a hamburger, we are eating higher on the food chain than is sustainable. But what about how “voting with dollars” affects our own lives? When we spend money on something that is good for us, that helps us grow, and that contributes to our community, we are affirming life. We are focusing our lives energy on adding to our lives and growth. What about when we waste our money? It does not add to our lives to spend money on electricity for a light bulb nobody is using. In fact, it hurts us twice: once when we spent our time working for the money that we wasted, and again with the negative social and environmental consequences that come from energy over consumption. Every expense we incur is paid for by a bit of our lives. Time lost at work, commuting, and job training is time that we never get back, time we cannot devote to what really matters.
Imagine that a rich relative left you an inheritance. There is enough money that you never have to work again if you keep your expenses low by sharing an apartment with roommates, using the bus instead of owning a car, cooking your meals at home and so on. What would you do with your time? Would you work at all? Learn to play the piano? Crisscross the country attending antiwar demonstrations? Be a full time parent? Where do your passions lie? Why aren’t you following those passions right now? Why aren’t you living that life? Is your path in life more important than living a lifestyle that obscures it? Can you make some changes to your lifestyle to rebuild your life around your passions? Will you?

Utne, “A different real on life”. July –aug 2003 no.118

Your Money is Your Life. By Psy
From Reclaiming quarterly a political mag from the witch community.

PSY PO box 14404, San Francisco ca 94114

July 23, 2007

Leaving Stonewall Homestead.

End of an era…

Our time fishing the grounds near the stonewall homestead have ended abruptly with a wave of good fish reports from the north. Thanks to today’s latest technology each boat in our group is equipped with satellite email, so as our five members are spread out amongst the grounds our captains resemble teenage text messengers on their cell phones. No need for secret radio channels any longer. We pulled our net out of the water and have begun the forty hour transition to the Bering Sea Salmon runs.

The hills around us are teeming with bears. One began to pester a nearby village so the locals shot it and cast it out to sea. The next high tide brought it right up on the beach where Keith and I found it. For a Grizzly it was medium sized at seven feet tall. It must have been a thousand pounds with for arms bigger than my thigh. Its wrists were the size of my thigh. Up until finding a bear and getting close enough to smell and feel its fur and gauge its mass I had entertained the idea of fending one off with a fisherman’s knife or out maneuvering one. Hmmm… not going to happen. We tried to cut its arm with a buck knife and were unable to get through the fur and no where near its thick tough hide. Its claws were nearly three inches long with paws like a squash paddle. If it wanted you it could have you.

I just finished Ishmael, a timely book about humans and their relationship to the universe. It is set with a caged Gorilla mentoring a young journalist. The book presents our creation myths in a new light and derives great lessons that inspire an ancient way of interacting with the world. It was timely for me because I am surrounded by a frontier that man has not conquered, and the elements rule your life.
We also capture a lot of our food and energy from our own efforts and local sources out here. The first few years out here I thought this place was beautiful but barren. Now I feel like I am surrounded by food and energy.

May 21, 2007

Togiak Herring

The Togiak season was filled with great weather, and plenty of easy fishing. In out spare time we hiked to hot springs, combed beaches for Walrus Ivory, glass balls, barbecued on the beach and made bonfires.
We decided to fish the season with one engine and came out as the top producing boat. Over all it was a blast and we came out with more money and adventures than we expected.

From here I am heading to False Pass to Long Line Halibut for three months. It should be a great summer.

Break down at Sea

If you fail the first time then try again? We set out from False Pass, the end of the Alaskan Peninsula, to cross the Bering Sea heading North to Togiak. The Sea was flat and greasy. It was to be a thirty seven hour leg. Fog rolled in, and then snow. The cold buys us time, but our weather window was slim so we pressed to get across the notorious stretch of ocean before any weather arrived. With a crew of three we held six hour wheel watches. Just after a complete rotation on a dreamy crossing with the Captain back at the wheel a new and strange sound rattled the hull. Bill slowed the engines to an idle. Tom jumped out of his bunk and out on deck to check the bow and our anchor winch and the bow. Snow and ice had built one the rails and deck and when I reached the bow slipping along the way in my sneakers with one eye opened and half awake I see Tom bear feat in the snow standing in his pajamas. Fog and calm flat sea surrounded us. The moon was full, but everything was luminous and eerie. The Anchor was there. We must have hit a small ice berg and it worked its way along the hull. We clambered around the deck and into the various holds looking for damage and the cause of the sound. We returned to the cabin with nothing to report on the strange noise.
A familiar sound continued. The three of us stood there in the cabin and below our feet the sound of water flowing settled in on us. We tore out the floor boards to view two spouts of water on both sides of the engine room below us. Our reactions were slow. We were taking on water, our bilge pumps were not working and none of our water alarms were going off. We were out now deep in the bowels of the Bering Sea. We were sinking. Bill jumped into the flooding engine room as did Tom. I asked if I should Pan Pan our GPS position on the radio just in case. Bill thought we should hold off.

Bill called out for some cloth to stuff in the holes. I tore a pair of sweatpants into bits and scrambled for all the dish rags. Tom established a circuit with a bilge pump and began the fight against the incoming water. I stuck my hand in one hole and Bill stuffed rags with one hand in another hole and held his finger in the third hole. The water was ice and our fingers and legs were instantly numbed. Our hands ached and lost their dexterity. The panic began to wear off as did the sleepiness. The reality of the moment began to set in. We were not in a great spot for a break down, but the problem was known to us now. We had holes in our boat, disabled bilge pumps and a broken propeller shaft. What caused it we will never know.

The propeller shaft had pulled out of its tunnel leaving us with a two inch hole that swallowed half a pair of sweat pants and a dish rag. Like magic Bill produced a bolt that fit miraculously into another hole that my finger had occupied. The third hole took a synthetic cork and some 5200 glue. None of these holes stopped leaking but their violent personalities were tamed into non threatening drizzles.

We were one third of the way across the sea and we turned around for the closest shore. We were pretty spooked and with our one remaining engine we lightly traveled back to land.
We sheared our prop shaft and the stuffing box spun free and wildly caught a near by run of wires and proceeded to wrap them around the shaft coupler on the engine. That run of wires lead to the engine room lights and the bilge pumps. When it pulled tight on the wires, the lights were disabled and the bilge pumps were ripped out of there locations and drawn into the shaft. Once the bilge pumps were wound in tight to the shaft their hoses followed and the entire water extraction system was disabled into a tight ball on the shaft. The hoses pulled on other engine cooling hoses and a thru-hold was sheared off at its base. Holes were created, pumps and lighting were disabled all in one shot.
Our confidence was breached. So much trust and blind faith is built in electronics and alert systems. We could hear water coming in, but we did not check our engine room because the bilge pumps and alarms were not activated.
We all have a greater awareness of boats now and a appreciation for the layer that separates us from danger. We also have a cool ass job and live exciting lives. Discovery channel has never caught the look on a skippers face when his boat is sinking and the sea is vast cold and coming to get him. I saw it from two inches away. I don’t know what’s better, having spare hands to take pictures, or to have one fist jammed in a hole of gushing water and a finger in another one. I guess it wouldn’t have been as real if there was time and or though of a camera.

We are now tied to a pilling at an old rotting fish cannery. Our spirits are low because we are bored now it seems like we are no where and we can’t go anywhere.

March 20, 2007

Ragged Islands to the Isle Great Inagua

Pictures speak for themselves and long winded updates never get read so here are some pics of the South Eastern Bahamas and our experiences.

The beautiful Ragged Islands served us well with calm coves to anchor and the fruits of the path less traveled. We landed on this completely deserted Island and these are our Boats. From Left to Right, Moxi, Barely Twisted, and Double Bruyn.

Our daily feed is becoming less of what we have purchased and more and more of what we are able to catch. Jon and I went fishing with spears on the reefs, I got two and Jon got one. :) This Dolphin fish Laura and I just caught on the line was the most beautifull color in the water. It took both of us to get it into the boat.
The company that we have made has been most of the last weeks adventure

Hundreds would pay thousands eh?
We are now heading for the Dominican Republic where we hope to get local vegitables and some culture.

March 01, 2007


Well we had a few adventures getting here by the end of the month but we made it.
The cold front that passed over Florida last week came our way to Chub cay and hammered us. We barely skirted into the safety of a marina as the winds reached a gale and the rain picked up. The marina wanted $112.00 for us to stay for the night so we choose to head out into the storm at nine in the morning to find a free anchorage and it happened by tremendous stores of good luck. We beat into the wind and rain hitting sand bars and loosing hope for another few hours before we got an anchor to hold. We have a knack for traveling against the wind and in less that favorable weather. But we are working it out and growing patient and all the while seeing some beautiful places.

The quality of people here is the ice one the cake as it always is with travel. The places you go will all ways be there. Its the people you meet that make the places. We are amongst a crowd of retired Canadians, French and Americans. They love that we are out here so early in life and they all say they wished they would have done it when they were our age. Everywhere we go people reach out to help us and offer advice. Each day we meet more people and hear more incredible stories.

We spent a few days in Nassau where we met the skipper on the NZ12 Americas Cup boat and he took us for a sail on it. It was thrilling. Then the next day he came for a sail on our boat where he tuned my rig and taught Laura and I how to trim our sails. It was an amazing sailing experience on our boat and a life time experience on a five million dollar carbon fiber Americas cup boat with a mast ten stories high.

Most importantly, we met up with our partner boat the ‘Double Brauyn’. The New Zealand brothers that started in the same port as ‘Barley Twisted’ in Florida, two months ago. We are going to post out here in the Southerly Islands of the Exumas for the next month. The fishing is good and the scenery never tires. There are over three hundred sail boats from around the globe here for the Georgetown Regatta. We came just in time and will slip into the race.

Last night we dressed as pirates and danced the night away on the beach to the Regatta music. Today we are setting sail south for the Ragged Islands just south of the Exumas.

February 14, 2007

Crossing the gulf stream and becoming heros

We Barely made it through the gulf stream. Our youth and impatience set us off in NE winds 15-20 with a destination against the current. We beat into the wind and against the current for fourteen hours at 2 knots speed over ground. As we closed in on the last fourteen miles our genoa was reefed and water was trickling in everywhere. It poored rain and the wind veered around to the East keeping us just off the coast for hours. We were tired, wet and cold, sleeping at the wheel and doing cirlces. Leaving at 13:00 we arived North Bimini at 07:00 the next day. Water had come in all the windows and through the steerting column and and anchor locker. It was horendous, we were wet and and tired but we worked well as a team and made it through the night. When we went to our bunks in the morning we found that everything was soaked. The moral was a bit low as we entered the long anticipated clear water Bahamas.

We spent all day yesterday drying our stuff and recovering. Everything was out on deck blowing int he wind. We have also learned that in a matter of seconds there are flash rain storms that can leave you with buckets of the best drinking water if you are prepared to catch it. We have met numerous other cruisers who all receive us with soo much hospitality and interest. We are younger than anyone else out here by thirty years. Most people work thier whole lives to do this, we sort of skipped the line.

Yesterday our trusty radio picked up a mayday call that no one esle could hear. So we responded and acted as relay for the boat in distress and the coast gaurd in Miami. We were on the radio for four hours as they deployed a helicopter and a rescue boat. There was a crazy lightning storm and the boat was adrift out in the Bahama flats. The Helicopter had to leave them as the lightning storm engulfed them and after propably six hours the boat was met by a rescue commercial fishing boat. haha leave it to the fisherman.
Laura and I were in a yoga lightning stance on the galley floor as lightning struck all around us. It was pretty scary. It was neat to learn that my out dated radio works all the way to Miami, and the boats around me with thier flash new equipment were out of the loop. Barely Twisted was thanked by the Coast Guard and Tow Boat US for assisting in the rescue.

Yesterday I saw a giant sting ray manor ray thing jump clearly out of the water. I have never seen such a thing.

Our next desitination is Chub Cay due East of here. Noaa weather reports call for gale force winds and freezing temps. hmmm, might be time to lay low for a while.

February 11, 2007

Float Plan 1

Lv Ft Lauderdale 26'05.40N 80'04.70W
Ar North Bimini 25'42.05 N 79'18.65 W
Course 120' T

TD 10:00
ETA 20:00